Ron Santo for the Hall of Fame!

Ron Santo Deserves Hall of Fame Induction.

Back in 1960, when the Houston Buffs were playing out their minor league days as a farm club of the Chicago Cubs, a couple of future Hall of Fame quality players passed through here as the team’s left fielder and third baseman,. Their names were Billy Williams and Ron Santo, but only one of them would go on to receive the Hall of Fame induction that both deserved. That one, as you well know, was Billy Williams, who went into the Hall in 1987 after an 18-season career in the big league (1959-1976) in which he batted .290 and collected 426 home runs as a left fielder and first baseman. Williams did not become eligible for consideration until 1982 and then made it in with enough support on the sixth annual ballot in which his name appeared.

In the meanwhile, that other former Buff, third baseman Ron Santo, has been shut out from the honor continuously ever since his own retirement from a 15-season big league career (1960-1974) as a .276 hitter who also bashed 342 home runs in his career. As a fielder, few have ranked with Mr. Santo at third base. As a five-times Gold Glove winner and a nine-times All Star, organized baseball did about all they could do to honor an active player for his prowess on the field. Then he retired and the voters apparently could not see beyond their addictions to the ideas that a player, especially a corner infielder, should have either a near .300 batting average or pulverizing power stats to merit Hall of Fame consideration.

Bunk. Ron Santo handled third base like few before or after him, and that’s especially important when we are talking about the difficult third base spot and its unique requirements for players with rabbit-like foot speed, cat-like reflexes, eagle-like vision, and bear-like arm strength. Throw in the exceptional agility of a ballet dancer with those first-mentioned qualities and you had a third baseman named Ron Santo.The blindness of the voters simply would not let them see in his lifetime beyond that .276 batting average. After all these years of wonderment over his HOF denial, that’s all I can figure.

Now Ron Santo is dead. After years of courageous battle against diabetes and the loss of both legs, we lost the man last week. He died on Thursday, December 2, 2010, at the age of 70.

Whenever it happens, Ron Santo’s posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame will ring a lot more hollow now that’s he’s gone. These kinds of recognition always do when we make some deserving person wait until they die before we honor them properly for what they did in life, but that that’s the way the world seems to operate in many instances and Ron Santo is definitely one of those cases.

C’mon, Baseball, put Ron Santo in the Hall of Fame now. “Better late than never” still holds – and it’s all we’ve got to lean on now in the matter of unfinished business with the late Ron Santo.

Tags: , ,

5 Responses to “Ron Santo for the Hall of Fame!”

  1. Bill Hickman Says:

    We should be far beyond batting averages in measuring how good a hitter was. In the NEW BILL JAMES HISTORICAL ABSTRACT (published 2001), Bill James argued that Santo was a better player than most of the third basemen in the Hall of Fame. James concluded that Santo was a better hitter than George Kell, Jimmy Collins, Pie Traynor, Fred Lindstrom, and Brooks Robinson.

    It’s indeed unfortunate that Ron didn’t get elected during his lifetime.

  2. D Stewart Says:

    First RIP Mr. Santo – you will always be fondly remembered by Cub fans and many other baseball fans as well.

    If Santo does ever make the HOF what about Ken Boyer? Looking at offensive numbers Santo is close to Ron Cey and Robin Ventura and I don’t know anyone lobbying for them to get HOF status. Gary Gaetti was a solid defensive 3B man with power numbers as well.

    I feel Santo was brought up about being a HOF regularly because he remained in the public eye due to his job announcing for the Cubs.

  3. Mike McCroskey Says:

    Pushing Santo for the Hall of Fame makes a case for Scott Rolen. Here’s a look at him. 15 years, .286 average, great glove, over 300 homeruns; but I don’t think HOF when I think of Rolen either. I’m not sure exactly what the criteria is for induction anymore. Personally, I’m lobbying for Peanut Johnson!

  4. Bill Gilbert Says:

    I agree that Santo should be in the Hall and its a shame he didn’t make it before his passing. I’m confident he will make it the next time he appears on a Vetrans Committee ballot.

    I’ve long felt that what has kept him out of the Hall is his relatively short career. His last good year was at the age of 32 and he was gone after one more year.

    Bill Gilbert

  5. inch of gold Says:

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the format for your weblog.
    Is this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s uncommon to
    see a great weblog like this one nowadays..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: